The Nashville Predators care not for your transaction freeze. The team has announced they’ve signed Joonas Lyytinen to a two-year entry level contract. Because the deal starts next season, they can announce it today without filing it with the league. No financial details were released.
Lyytinen was the Predators’ fifth-round selection in 2014 and has played the last several years in the Finnish Liiga. The 22-year old defenseman put up 24 points in 54 games this season, logging big minutes for KalPa Kuopio throughout the season and into the playoffs. As noted in the press release, Lyytinen was a teammate of Predators’ goaltender Juuse Saros at the 2015 World Juniors, though that squad did not receive a medal in the tournament.
The extremely undersized defenseman has been listed as light as 150-lbs at times, though more current measurements have him somewhere around 160. Even though the NHL has a place for smaller, mobile defensemen, playing at that weight would be a concern for anyone. If Lyytinen can ever make it to the NHL, he’ll have to prove that his skating ability and puck retrieval skills are strong enough to make up for what he’ll always lack in strength. It’s worked for him so far in Finland, but will be interesting to see how it plays out in North America.